Sort file:- Sevenoaks, July, 2023.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 27 July, 2023.


Earliest 1871-

Castle Inn

Closed 2015

87 St John's Hill


Castle Inn

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

Castle Inn

Above photo kindly sent by Peter Moynahan, date unknown.

Castle 2010

Above photo, 2010, kindly sent by Michael Mirams.


I am informed that the pub was leased to Friary Meux Ltd.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 6 February, 1880.


The license of the “Castle,” St John’s Hill, was transferred from Joseph Parris to Harriett Dawson.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, Friday 14 September 1945.


On Wednesday of last week Mrs. Brigden entertained a party of customers' children at the "Castle Inn" when Mr. R. Chapman home from Italy after four years entertained the children with games, with Mrs. Chapman at the piano.

Tea, provided by Mr. and Mrs. Brigden and friends was served by Mrs. Hopcroft, Miss Burrows and others.


From an email received 20 July 2023.

I have recently been looking at photos of old Sevenoaks and particularly St Johns Hill and The old Castle Inn pub.

On being demobbed after the second world was my father William Dilnot and my mother Alice became the licensees of this nice old Victorian hostelry. We had lived in The Terrace, Chipstead lane for most of my life, I was born there in 1936. The widow of the deceased landlord of The Castle took over our house there and my parents, my brother and I all moved into the pub.

To say this was a culture shock for my brother and I is an understatement because the place had not been modernised for many, many years. The main living accommodation was a semi basement with a huge, ancient fireplace and very cold stone floors. The whole house was lit by gas, there was no electricity in the building. The bedrooms were on the second floor which also boasted a bathroom complete with a bad tempered gas fired water heater which was in the habit of exploding if one didn't get the lighting routine in the right order, I was terrified of it.

I think I must have been about nine when we moved in, probably 1945 or 6. It was an ale only house belonging to Westerham Breweries - Long gone I'm sure.

My next memories are of months of builders, carpenters, electricians and decorators becoming part of everyday life, my poor mother must have been so fed up with it in the end having left her pretty little house surrounded by fields and woods in Chipstead and finding herself in a building site. My father was in his element though, supervising the improvements to the building, we had by now abandoned the basement dwelling for a much nicer new kitchen and living room on the first floor. The whole premises were now fully wired for electric lighting. Unfortunately the dreaded water hearer was still present in the bathroom and I still found some of the bedrooms and dark landings a bit "Spooky" A full wine and spirits licence had been sought and secured by my father and our family settled in for several happy years until my father decided that he needed to move on and start the whole "improvement" thing again somewhere else. Probably 1950-51.

There were three separate bars consisting of the Public Bar, the Private Bar and The Saloon. Also what I think was known as The Bottle and Jug Bar where drinks could be purchased by customers for consumption in their own homes. The bars were all heated by open fires and very cosy during the winter months.

Every summer the hop pickers used to arrive at local farms and would fill the pubs in the evenings and weekends, a lot of singing and dancing was enjoyed by the pickers and locals. My mother always liked the social aspect of the pub and loved to join in with the merry making, she was a real asset to the business and the customers all seemed to love her. She had a talent for listening people, sympathising with their troubles and was always interested in anything they had to say. My father used to say she was his worst customer because she didn't drink!

The other thing I have just recalled is that Dad used to run a beer tent at the Sevenoaks fetes. One at Easter another on Whit Monday and then I think one at August Bank Holiday. These occasions were held in a green space somewhere nearer the town maybe part of the Knole estate and were very well attended by people from all over the district. Pub customers took full advantage of the chance to come and drink beer all day long. I'm sure their wives were not all that amused!

One of the things that always puzzled me about the pub was not actually the Castle itself but the shop next door which had been long closed but still had a display of shoes and I seem to remember even old button boots on the windows. two curious ladies lived there who I always thought were aunt and niece. They didn't communicate with anybody and seemed to me to be dressed in a very outdated fashion way. I think the shop had them name Lassalette Dane above the window but am not really sure if that is correct.

It is very strange what facts one remembers and on looking at the old colour postcard on the sight I couldn't help wondering if of the people in the picture had lived in our pub.

Tina Smith. nee Dilnot.


Closed in 2015 and still empty in 2017.



STILL James 1871+ (age 61 in 1871Census)

PARRIS Joseph to Feb/1880

DAWSON Harriet Feb/1880-81+ (widow age 56 in 1881Census)

TURNER William 1911 (age 68 in 1911Census)

COPPER Thomas 1922-30+

COPPER Ellen Mrs 1938+

BRIGDEN William A 1939-45+ (age 56 in 1939)

DILNOT William Edward 1946-51+

MARSHALL Albert 1955+




If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-